What Are Scope Rings? [Scope Ring Sizes Explained]

You might know that scope rings are the essential components that secure a rifle scope to the firearm. However, did you know that the correct size scope rings are vital in ensuring an accurate, reliable, and consistent shooting performance? The scope ring size you should get depends on 4 key factors. In this guide, we explain the different scope ring sizes and mounting types and how to select the correct ring size based on your aiming & shooting platform.

What Are Scope Rings?

rifle scope rings & mounts

Scope rings are the mounts that secure a rifle scope to the firearm. The rifle scope rings typically clamp around the scope’s main tube and attach to the scope base. For example, 30 mm rifle scope rings allow for a stable and precise connection between the scope and the firearm.

What Are Scope Bases?

A scope mount or base act as a mounting platform for connecting the scope rings with the firearm. Each type of scope base is designed specifically for the specific firearm model. For example, you would need a specific scope base for a scout scope that would not work on an AR-15. The purpose of the scope base is to provide a solid foundation for scope rings, ensuring accurate and consistent alignment of the scope.

Interfaces For Scope Mounts

An interface is the attachment mounting system that acts as the secure connection between the scope ring, bases, and firearms. Simply put, it’s the system that holds everything together.

The most common interfaces you get are Picatinny rail, Weaver-style mounts, and dovetail rings.

Different Scope Rings Sizes & Heights

different size and height scope rings

Scope rings come in different sizes and heights. This is because the tube diameter of different rifle scopes varies, as well as the shooting preference of hunters – some like a forward-mounted scope while others enjoy the classic mounting system.

The rifle scope ring size refers to the diameter of the scope’s main tube. The most common size scope rings include 1 inch, 30mm, and 34 mm rifle scope rings.

The scope ring height depends on the distance between the base and the bottom of the scope tube. Therefore, in order to determine the correct scope ring height, you need to know the diameter of the scope’s objective lens and the height of the rifle’s receiver.

Ultimately, the correct rings will depend on the scope’s dimensions, firearm design (receiver height and compatibility), and the shooter’s preferred eye relief and cheek weld. Remember, you will need different size scope ring sizes depending on the objective lens diameter of your scope.

Popular Scope Mounting Options

1) Cantilever Mount

Cantilever mounts are designed to provide a more forward placement of the scope. I prefer using the Cantilever mount for my AR- rifles because these rifles require long eye relief, and some have limited rail space.

Therefore, using a Cantilever mount allows you to have better eye relief and a more comfortable shooting position.

2) Quick Detach Rings or Mount

Quick detach scope rings are designed for speed. Using these allows you to attach or detach a scope from a firearm in seconds.


The mount features a lever or locking mechanism, allowing you to install or remove a scope without a tool. Quick detach rings are the best scope rings if you want to switch rapidly between different optics, like a holographic and LPVO. Additionally, it adds a layer of flexibility to your rifle – having the ability to remove and attach a scope on the fly.

3) Integral Rings

Integral rings are probably the best scope rings if durability is your top priority. These scope rings are built directly into the base, creating a unified mounting system. This reduces the need for ring screws and additional loose parts.

This unique design allows for a sturdy scope mounted to the firearm. It also reduces the risk of misalignment or the scope moving because of recoil or collision. You can most often find integral rings used with bolt action rifles like hunting firearms.

Benefits Of Mounting Your Scope Properly

Here is a list of the main benefits from mounting your rifle scope correctly.

  • Improved Accuracy: When you mount your scope properly, ensuring all the mounting screws and fittings are properly fastened with a torque wrench and the scope is perfectly aligned with the rifle, then the scope will maintain a consistent and accurate point of aim relative to the firearm. This stability is vital for precise shots and maintaining zero.
  • Eye relief and comfort: It also ensures that your scope is positioned at the right distance from your eye – allowing for a more comfortable aiming platform. It also reduces eye strain and just makes for a better overall aiming experience.
  • Durability: When you mount your scope properly, you can rest assured that your scope won’t shift or come loose during shooting. If it comes loose, it might lead to a loss of zero, or you can damage the integral parts of the scope. By mounting your scope correctly, you increase the scope’s longevity dramatically.
  • Maintenance and Adjustments: It is easier to conduct maintenance or make adjustments for elevation and windage when the scope is mounted properly. This is because you won’t affect the stability of the system when touching the scope.

Which Scope Rings Do I Need?

To determine what scope rings you need, follow these guidelines:

  1. Scope tube diameter: Check your scope’s specifications to find the correct scope tube diameter (1 inch, 30 mm or 34 mm)
  2. Base Compatibility: Make sure you buy rings that are compatible with the scope base. Common mounting systems include Weaver, Dovetail, and Picatinny rail.
  3. Ring Height: It is very important to select a ring height that allows for enough clearance between the rifle and scope – pay special attention to the objective lens diameter; they are often the main culprit of too low a ring height.Pro tip: I prefer a lower ring for better cheek weld and a more compact profile – ideal for hunting in dense brush. But I prefer a higher ring for my long-range rifles and varminting weapons as it accommodates night vision accessories better.
  4. Quick Detach or Fixed: This depends on your rifle’s use case. If you are shooting both short-range and medium-range, then a quick detach might be better.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of scope rings?

Scope rings, like Weaver and Picatinny rings, securely attach the rifle scope to the firearm.

Do scope rings make a difference?

Yes, the type, quality, and size make a major difference in your scope's ability to maintain stability, accuracy, and alignment during shooting.

Do scopes come with rings?

No, scopes typically do not come with rings - they are usually sold separately to allow for customization based on the specific firearm and mounting system you use.

How tall of scope rings do I need?

Choose scope rings that provide the perfect balance between the clearance of the scope's objective lens and the firearm and comfortability with regard to cheek weld and eye relief.

The Bottom Line

Scope rings are an integral part of ensuring that the rifle scope is secured to the firearm. Without scope rings, the scope’s stability and accuracy may become compromised during shooting. There is a wide range of ring sizes and heights, each accommodating different scopes, diameters, and mounting systems. When choosing your scope ring size, it is essential that you understand what scope rings perform with your scope and firearm to ensure optimal performance. Happy shooting!

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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